COVID-19’s social distancing is one reason for that increase, but many other benefits drove the trend long before the pandemic. Physicians cite improved patient access to care, improved patient satisfaction and staying connected with patients and their caregivers as the top three reasons. Today, 94% of doctors say telehealth is vital for the future of healthcare delivery.
One barrier to broader adoption is internet service that’s too slow, too expensive or simply unavailable, such as in rural areas. Roughly 25% of adults don’t have broadband at home, increasing to 40% for people 65 and older. That means many of the people who would benefit the most from telehealth — senior citizens — can’t access it.
No Internet, No Problem with Remote Patient Monitoring
WITHmyDOC is helping physicians and patients overcome that barrier with RPM, short for “remote patient monitoring.” The turnkey platform includes RPM@Home®, a kit with devices that patients use at home to monitor vital signs, such as:
- Blood glucose
- Blood oxygen saturation
- Medication management
- Blood pressure
RPM@Home can also receive data from most commercially available Bluetooth-enabled health and fitness wearables, such as smartwatches.
The patient’s physician can review both historical and real-time data through the web-based RPMd® portal. That information enables them to better manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD, hypertension and congestive heart failure. It also helps them identify and treat emerging problems before they escalate into a condition that requires a visit to the ER or, worse, hospitalization.
RPM@Home also includes a tablet with an embedded cellular modem to connect the patient’s devices to the internet. The patient or caregiver simply turns on the tablet, which then automatically finds the right mobile network and establishes a connection, enabling the syncing of patient data from their devices.
A tablet pre-provisioned with mobile service is ideal because it enables RPM@Home to work even when patients don’t have DSL, cable or fiber, or a Wi-Fi access point. It’s equally beneficial for patients who do have Wi-Fi because neither they nor their caregiver must go through the process of connecting the tablet to the home network — including remembering the Wi-Fi password.
Unlike Wi-Fi, a cellular connection isn’t vulnerable to hackers. That helps RPM@Home maintain the high level of security required by HIPAA when dealing with patient-level data. It also helps address the data security and privacy concerns that 33% of physicians say are barriers to adoption.
The Telit Advantage
To develop RPM@Home, WITHmyDOC turned to Telit, whose connectivity solutions are designed to free businesses from the time and hassle of comparing and choosing mobile operator plans. Telit also provides the SIM card for each RPM@Home tablet.
Telit’s connectivity solutions include OPTIMUS, which analyzes WITHmyDOC’s data usage. It then assigns each SIM with the data plan that provides the right amount of bandwidth and the most cost-effective rate. That avoids bill shock and frees WITHmyDOC from the overhead expense of managing rate plans.
WITHmyDOC also uses Telit’s IoT Portal, whose intuitive dashboards, charts, reports and other visual elements make it easy to manage each RPM@Home unit. IoT Connectivity Portal also provides tools for quickly diagnosing and resolving issues — key for giving patients and physicians reliable connectivity. This troubleshooting is done entirely over the air, so the RPM@Home tablet doesn’t have to be sent in for service.
"Early on, we realized that even in today’s connected world, a large portion of the patient population we serve does not have access to quality bandwidth. Telit’s solutions have allowed us to remain focused on our mission and expand acute home care in rural areas of the country."
Richard Rodriguez President and CEO, Co-Founder of WITHmyDOC
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